Friday, January 21, 2011

BCGF Reviews

Here are 3 handmade comics I picked up at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival last month.

Hatred for a Human Host
Vol 666: Suffer Vacation
Zach Hazard Vaupen

Zach Hazard Vaupen is a member of the Baltimore-based comics collective Closed Caption Comics. Hatred for a Human Host features a 3-color (including metallic gold) screen printed cover that itself delivers a very heavy, textural aesthetic. The interiors are printed on ivory stock and feature a course, dirty line. Zach synthesizes pop manga, crust punk and informal art brut/doodle-iconography. The setting is dystopian and hellish, filled with wandering bands of dumpster diving road warriors and dark overlords perched high in their flying black fortifications. Every character seems to be seeking some escape or negating darkness, an end to a seemingly endless disgusting existence. Fun for the whole family.

Mickey Z
Mickey Z is perhaps the best example of the new energy that the manga boom is interjecting into the second wave of art/genre comics. Her comics seemingly take place in a 1000 mph acid rain typhoon. The lines electrically dance around the page with characters emerging and dissolving in and out of the fray. Halftone screens are applied almost abstractly, word balloons melt out of their speakers mouths like ectoplasm. The cover is printed in 2-color on delicate blue paper and the majority of the interiors are printed with blue ink on similarly thin yellow stock. The contrast of heavy printed visuals with lightweight color paper lends an otherworldliness to the object itself. The narrative follows Juice, a leather jacket and sunglasses kind of badass as he wanders through a landscape of demons only to find himself at IHOP face to face with a threat on his life. This comic is a hot mess, and I mean that as a total compliment.

Aidan Koch
Chant is b&w ink wash (i believe) throughout and presents itself as a sparse and unassuming 8.5 x 11 pamphlet. The binding is hand sewn however with 4 dangling threads from the spine which adds a personal dimension. In Chant, Koch employs her trademark lush naturalism to contrast the urban with the natural. Nature is a major theme running through all her work. In Chant she, as an observer, seems to be seeking it on a subway ride as images drift between passengers, wild creatures and thoughts of a young man. There is serenity throughout. A third visual theme is that of patterned fabric. Perhaps a synthesis of natural beauty and human craft? The final image depicts a young girl (Aidan Koch?) gazing through the ornate pattern towards the reader. Though narratively abstract, Koch's work always calls upon the 5 senses and ultimately delivers a very real feeling.


  1. That's 2 Mickey Z recommendations in one day, guess I'll her to check her work out.

    If you haven't seen it check out Koch's Vastness no. 2. It's a single page poster comic (11 x 17?) in color. Really beautiful.

  2. Yeah I saw it at BCGF but like a big dummy I didn't buy it.

    Mickey Z's stuff is really interesting. It's crazy raw, but like the way Maggots is crazy raw. I'm hoping her work continues to develop and eventually coalesces into something really great.

  3. Mickey Zacchilli is also a contributor to the Root Rot anthology which will debut at TCAF.